/s/ [Missing variable]

Mai Kuha mkuha at BSUVC.BSU.EDU
Sun Aug 13 17:47:11 UTC 2000

On Sun, 13 Aug 2000, Frank Abate wrote:

> Some older (pre-teen and up) girls and women tend to "whistle their Ss";
> I do not know a phonetic term for this, but it seems to involve
> pronunciation of S with the very tip of the tongue positioned dentally,
> rather than back on the alveolar ridge.  (...)

This must be just a coincidence (unless a popular entertainment figure
with universal appeal is behind this) but I could swear I heard the
phenomenon you describe earlier this summer, when I returned after a long
absence to the Canary Islands (which is the closest thing I have to what
more normal people call "home"). I spent an afternoon with an old friend
from high school. She sounded as always, but her 14-year-old daughter and
her friend pronounce /s/ with a quality I can't remember hearing before in
Spanish. They sounded more front to me, but there was more to it. My
friend's 8-year-old son didn't have it, I think.

Mai Kuha                  mkuha at bsuvc.bsu.edu
Department of English     (765) 285-8410
Ball State University

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